BEIJING – Burger King was forced to produce a promotional video in New Zealand showing customers trying to eat hamburgers with chopsticks after sparking an uproar in China and apologetic requests from the American fast food chain.
The video posted on a franchisee's Instagram account showed Westerners with an oversized wand in each hand struggling to eat the company's new "Vietnamese Sweet Chilli Tendercrisp Burger".
Burger King stated that it asked the franchisee to immediately remove the video. The video was removed from the Instagram account on Tuesday afternoon.
"The advertising in question is insensitive and does not reflect our brand's values of diversity and inclusion," Burger King said in a statement to Reuters.
Social media users in China have asked for an apology, saying that Burger King had been derided by the Asian customs and etiquette of the table.
The hashtag "Burger King's Excuses" has been viewed more than 50 million times on the Twitter-like microblogging platform, Sina Weibo, on Tuesday afternoon.
Others have offered to Burger King, which operates 1000 stores in China, the benefit of the doubt.
"I do not know if it really is racial discrimination. But the people who have advertised do not really have brains, "said a Weibo commentator.
Chinese media likened the video to that of the Italian luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana last year, in which a Chinese model was struggling to eat pizzas and spaghetti with chopsticks.
Dolce & Gabbana was forced to cancel a fashion show in China and social media users threatened to boycott the campaign. The co-founders of the brand then apologized in a video excuse.
Burger King is a subsidiary of Restaurant Brands International, a Toronto-listed company.